I am a T'ai-Chi Teacher and Singer/Songwriter living in Ashland, OR. Please visit my site: www.GeneBurnett.com for more info about my teaching and music. At my site I have over 20 albums of songs available for downloading free or with a donation. This blog is dedicated to musings about what I like to call "The Unforced Life".
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Points Of View
I got plenty.
When I see how lazy people can be sometimes; how afraid of risk, how insecure, how wobbly in the face of challenge, I have this strong urge to say:
"Hey, stop dreaming and start doing. Start showing up and heading in the direction of being or becoming whatever you dream of. You can change your mind along the way, but keep moving! Your life will pass you by if you don't. Your Dreams Won't Chase You."
I'm currently helping one of my students write a song with just this point of view.
But you know, at the same time, I also have the feeling that my dreams do chase me. Not in the sense of breaks or "dream" opportunities chasing me, but in the sense of constantly reminding me when what I'm doing doesn't feel right for me. In the sense of: My deepest dreams don't die away. They keep after me, advocating for their fullfillment.
I certainly have I have a strong sense of "Your Dreams Don't Chase You" in my life, but I'm working on a song about this other angle as well.
I find it fascintating how apparently oppositional points of view can be held at the same time. It's kind of like seeing an object or movie in 3-D. If I can see something, almost anything, from more than one point of view at the same time, I get a very clear, distinct sensation of added depth in my perceptions. I feel that I'm constantly arriving at an understanding about what I'm looking at. I experience it as something that's alive and changing and mysterious. What I don't feel is a sense of being, or becoming "right".
People seem to be thrusting a lot of opinions around these days. Opinions about what really happened on 9-11, who's really behind the economic collapse, what'sreally the truth about climate change or peak oil or the Middle East War or military spending or the environment...and on and on. Well, it seems to me that if anything is really true about anything, and I have my doubts that it is, it's that WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE REAL TRUTH IS.
We have ideas, we have guesses, we have theories, we have points of view. I try as much as I can to acknowledge that my point of view is just that, a point of view. When people start talking about what's "really" true, I start to kind of "go away". Literally or in some other way, I start leaving. It's just tiresome being around people who are passionately interested in something that I'm not at all interested in. And I'm not interested in pretending I know what's really going on or in hanging out with people who think they do.
What I'm interested in, and what I get energy from is meeting people who seem to be saying, "This is my current view and here's why I see it that way. What's yours?" I'm not looking for agreement about anything except this: We are talking to each other to learn about each other, not so that one of us can be right. I like arguments, but not as a way of determining who's right. I like arguments as a way to get to know someone and to learn more about what we're arguing about. As I get to know other people and sense into what their points of view are, and hopefully try them on myself, I end up with more depth to my perceptions. I still gravitate to my favorite points of view and I can be as close-minded and "right" as the next person, but I find it easier and easier to expand my "view" and take in more, rather than less, of what's around me.
So, here's one of my points of view about points of view:
I picture the universe like a giant crystal or matrix of energy. It's a huge network with an infinite number of interactions and events all connected and constantly changing, always effortlessly beautiful and in dynamic, perfect balance. What it's made of and why it's here are unknowable mysteries. It just is.
Any point of view to me, is like drawing a little line in the middle of this complex matrix from "Point A" to "Point B". Point A is what I call "me" and Point B is what I'm considering or looking at. Every angle, every point of view, reveals some kind of "truth" to me. But what it reveals is SOME truth, not THE truth. I believe THE truth is out of my reach and always will be. All I have is a point of view within this massively complicated, or elusively simple, dance of energy.
That said, the more points of view I can sample, the more things I look at, the more "truth" or information about this dance I get. I feel more and more in contact with the universe. It's not easy though, and taking on a new point of view can take more energy than I have to spare. But when it feels right and I do it, I always feel the richer for having done so.
Any point of view seems to invite drawing conclusions or forming a "position". I try my best however, to see these conclusions as models or lenses to look at things through, rather than as competing truth candidates.
For instance seeing the human body through the lens of modern Western medicine or science can be very useful to me. So can seeing it through the lens of the Chinese "chi" model. Or through the lens of the Moshe Feldenkrais method. Or though the lens of Alexander Lowen's Bio-Energetic model. Or through the lens of my own subjective experience of my own and other's bodies. I don't think that what I see through any of these lens "is" what the human body is.
The human body, like everything else, is an unknowable mystery. There's no one who can tell you what you are made of in any definitive way. Just keep asking, "And what's that made of? And what's that made of?" and you can turn the world's greatest minds into Beavis and Butthead, because sooner or later you get to....uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. But I find all of these body models useful to me in coming to a better understanding of how bodies operate and behave around me. I feel like I know them better for having looked at them through these various models.
So, from this point of view, points of view are also like fishing nets. Each one brings in whatever fish it can catch, but can never bring in all the fish. But I don't mind. I just like fish.
I have other points of view about points of view, but this one is my favorite.